WBEZ | Rahm Emanuel http://www.wbez.org/tags/rahm-emanuel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago announces plans to build 88-story skyscraper http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-announces-plans-build-88-story-skyscraper-111271 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/14773555050_6126cfb214_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago officials have announced that a Chinese developer is planning to build an 88-story hotel and condominium tower that would be the city&#39;s third tallest building.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced an agreement Thursday between the Beijing&#39;s Wanda Group and the Magellan Development Group for a $900 million project to build a downtown high-rise designed by Chicago architect Jeanne Gang. It will be known as Wanda Vista.</p><p>Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 and when completed it would be the third tallest structure in Chicago, behind Willis Tower and Trump International Hotel &amp; Tower.</p><p>Emanuel&#39;s office says the project represents the largest real estate investment by a Chinese company in Chicago and will create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs</p></p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 12:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-announces-plans-build-88-story-skyscraper-111271 Chicago mayor's commission unveils plan for a safer Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayors-commission-unveils-plan-safer-chicago-111241 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP973232440855.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The city of Chicago released <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/supp_info/the-mayor-s-commission-for-a-safer-chicago.html" target="_blank">a report</a> today with 28 recommendations to address the city&#39;s youth violence problem.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Mayor&#39;s Commission for a Safe Chicago released the report. The recommendations include adding eight &quot;peace rooms&quot; in Chicago Public schools for conflict resolution and connecting families with counseling.</p><p>&ldquo;Every child in the city of Chicago deserves a childhood, and that childhood cannot be stolen from them,&rdquo; Emanuel said in unveiling the plan. &ldquo;And every adolescent deserves their adolescence free of violence. So I hope we take this work &hellip; not just as another report [but as] a call to action.&rdquo;</p><p>While it is billed as a strategic plan for 2015, most of the report&rsquo;s 64 pages are dedicated to celebrating past accomplishments by the Emanuel administration. Of the 60 violence prevention programs highlighted in the report&rsquo;s executive summary, 13 of them are new or updated for 2015.</p><p>One of the new ideas presented in the plan calls on the Chicago Police Department to explore alternatives to arresting first-time juvenile offenders.</p><p>&ldquo;We recommend exploring possible alternatives to arrest for first-time juvenile offenders such as tickets or &hellip; community service,&rdquo; said co-chair Eddie Bocanegra with the YMCA.</p><p>And the written report says the police department will do just that in 2015. But spokesmen for the mayor&rsquo;s office and CPD declined to provide any specifics on the plan.</p><p>The commission&rsquo;s plan focuses on youth violence because, according to the city, people 29 and younger have made up more than 60 percent of Chicago&rsquo;s homicide victims over the past five years. It aims to decrease crime by treating youth violence as a public health issue. That means a focus on education, trauma therapy and youth employment.</p><p>Emanuel pointed to <a href="https://soundcloud.com/afternoonshiftwbez/new-study-reveals-local-summer-jobs-program-reduces-youth-violence" target="_blank">a recent study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the University of Pennsylvania</a> that showed the One Summer Plus youth jobs program helped reduce arrests by more than 40 percent over a 16-month period.</p><p>This is the first report by the Mayor&rsquo;s Commission for a Safer Chicago. It was written after three forums held over the summer attended by government representatives, faith groups and community organizations.</p><p>The commission also sought out opinions from about 200 young people in more than a dozen Chicago communities.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow him on twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">@pksmid</a>. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayors-commission-unveils-plan-safer-chicago-111241 Unions sue to stop Chicago pension overhaul http://www.wbez.org/news/unions-sue-stop-chicago-pension-overhaul-111239 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/city hall chicago flickr daniel x o nell.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Current and retired city workers and their labor unions have filed a lawsuit arguing a law overhauling Chicago&#39;s pension systems is unconstitutional.</p><p>The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court also asks a judge to stop the law from taking effect Jan. 1.</p><p>Chicago has the worst-funded pension system of any major U.S. city.</p><p>Legislation approved last year seeks to eliminate a $9.4 billion unfunded liability in two pension systems by increasing contributions and cutting benefits. It would affect about 57,000 laborers and municipal employees.</p><p>The plaintiffs are 12 current and former workers and four unions, including AFSCME Council 31 and the Illinois Nurses Association.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the law is constitutional. He says the changes are needed to ensure pension funds remain solvent and retirees receive benefits.</p></p> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/unions-sue-stop-chicago-pension-overhaul-111239 Who polices the police? In Chicago, it's increasingly ex-cops http://www.wbez.org/news/who-polices-police-chicago-its-increasingly-ex-cops-111194 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P1080151cropscale.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 236px; width: 350px;" title="Protests like this one at Chicago police headquarters last week have become frequent since August, when an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, shot to death an unarmed 18-year-old. Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency in charge of investigating shootings by cops, has never found one to be unjustified. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />Public officials around the country are grappling with how to handle police officers accused of using deadly force without justification. In New York City, it&rsquo;s an officer whose chokehold led to the death of a 43-year-old man in July. In Cleveland, it&rsquo;s&nbsp;a cop who fatally shot a 12-year-old last month. In Ferguson, Missouri, tempers are still hot about the August shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old.</p><p>Then there&rsquo;s Chicago. Since 2007, according to city records, police gunfire has killed at least 116 people and injured another 258. The city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority, the agency in charge of investigating those shootings, has not found a single one to be unjustified.</p><p>Now a WBEZ investigation raises questions about just how independent the agency is. City records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that IPRA&rsquo;s management now includes six former cops &mdash; officials who have spent most of their career in sworn law enforcement. Those include the agency&rsquo;s top three leaders.</p><p>&ldquo;Complaints may be seen not through the eyes of the citizen but through the eyes of a police officer,&rdquo; said Paula Tillman, a former IPRA investigative supervisor who was a Chicago cop herself in the 1970s and 1980s. &ldquo;The investigations can be engineered so that they have a tilt toward law enforcement and not what the citizen is trying to say.&rdquo;</p><p>Tillman, who left IPRA in 2012, said she noticed a tilt in some of those shooting probes.</p><p>Experts say a paucity of sustained excessive-force complaints is not unusual for a police-oversight agency, even in a big city. But it was not supposed to be that way in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;One misconduct [incident] is one too many and I think people want openness &mdash; transparency from the police department,&rdquo; Mayor Richard M. Daley said in 2007 when he announced the formation of IPRA in response to a series of scandals, most memorably a video recording that showed a beefy off-duty cop named Anthony Abbate beating up a petite bartender who had refused to serve him.</p><p>Previously, police-brutality complaints against Chicago cops were handled by the Office of Professional Standards, a unit of the police department itself.</p><p>Daley moved the agency under his direct supervision and gave it subpoena power. He also kept civilians in charge of IPRA to counter what he called &ldquo;the perception&rdquo; that investigations into alleged police misconduct were tainted by cops.</p><p>Seven years later, that perception still dogs the agency. But IPRA Chief Administrator Scott Ando, a former high-ranking U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, told WBEZ he had no bias that would favor an officer who pulls the trigger.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ando3crop.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 205px; width: 250px;" title="Scott Ando, a former top U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, now heads Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority. His management team includes six former cops. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />&ldquo;What I really have is a sense of pride in 33 years of a professional law-enforcement career,&rdquo; Ando said. &ldquo;Every time someone, no matter where they&rsquo;re from, tarnishes that reputation of law enforcement, it offends me. And I can assure you that everybody that works for me that&rsquo;s [from] law enforcement, and otherwise, takes what we do very seriously.&rdquo;</p><p>Besides Ando, IPRA&rsquo;s leadership includes First Deputy Chief Administrator Steven Mitchell, another former top DEA agent, and Deputy Chief Administrator Steven Hirsch, a former criminal investigation chief of the Illinois Department of Revenue. IPRA investigative supervisors include former Chicago police Cmdr. Lorenzo Davis, former high-ranking DEA agent David Marzullo, and Joshua Hunt, a former homicide detective in Savannah, Georgia.</p><p>Ando said he had hired former cops because of their expertise in everything from management to investigation to police procedures. Plus, he pointed out, those former cops are part of a 90-member staff.</p><p>&ldquo;We also have 11 attorneys,&rdquo; Ando said, including several with a background in criminal defense. &ldquo;When you get to the investigative ranks, the vast majority have come from inspector-general offices, corporate-security firms [and] background investigations.&rdquo;</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who tapped Ando to head IPRA last year, did not answer WBEZ when we asked whether the agency&rsquo;s management shift conflicted with its oversight mission. He referred our questions to IPRA, whose spokesman sent a statement praising the agency&rsquo;s &ldquo;balanced workforce&rdquo; and listing recent community outreach efforts, including a new brochure and the creation of a satellite office and an advisory board.</p><p>Ando said he and the other former cops on his staff have helped IPRA increase its rate of sustained police-misconduct complaints.</p><p>One recent IPRA investigation led to Cook County felony charges against a police district commander, Glenn Evans, for allegedly inserting the barrel of his handgun down a 22-year-old&rsquo;s throat last year while pressing a Taser to his crotch and threatening to kill him &mdash; a case revealed by WBEZ. (Ando in April recommended that Supt. Garry McCarthy strip Evans of police powers. But McCarthy, backed by Emanuel, did not remove Evans from the command post until the charges were brought more than four months later.)</p><p>Ando said the former cops on his staff have also been crucial in reducing a case backlog. &ldquo;The average investigator &mdash; not that long ago, maybe 18-24 months ago &mdash; had a caseload of 35 on average,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Now they&rsquo;re down to about 15. It gives us time to really work correctly and diligently on the ones that deserve the greatest attention &mdash; the most serious allegations.&rdquo;</p><p>Samuel Walker, a University of Nebraska at Omaha criminologist, says it is common for the independence of police-oversight agencies to erode. He said police unions sometimes convince politicians to curb an agency&rsquo;s powers. Or, as in Chicago, the mayor allows former cops to take the lead.</p><p>&ldquo;They make the argument that somebody with a law-enforcement background is going to better understand policing and be able to do a better job of assessing complaints,&rdquo; Walker said.</p><p>But he thinks this argument only goes so far. &ldquo;Public perception of independence is critically important in terms of the credibility of the agency,&rdquo; Walker said. &ldquo;As you staff it with people with law-enforcement backgrounds, you&rsquo;re going to create distrust.&rdquo;</p><p>That distrust, Walker said, means police brutality may go unreported and unpunished.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 05 Dec 2014 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/who-polices-police-chicago-its-increasingly-ex-cops-111194 Aldermen skip chance to ask about city's handling of police commander http://www.wbez.org/news/aldermen-skip-chance-ask-about-citys-handling-police-commander-111016 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Scott Ando HORIZONTAL.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago City Council on Wednesday heard testimony from the head of the city agency that investigates police-brutality complaints. But the aldermen skipped the&nbsp;chance to ask him about the city&rsquo;s handling of a police commander who faces felony charges in a case that began with one of those complaints.</p><p>The occasion was the annual Independent Police Review Authority budget hearing. IPRA Chief Administrator Scott Ando (see photo) testified about a reduction in a&nbsp;backlog of open investigations and about new community outreach. Ando said the most important new outreach vehicles are IPRA&rsquo;s first two satellite offices, one on the West Side and another coming soon on the South Side.</p><p>The few aldermen who spoke at the hearing congratulated Ando. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re doing more with less,&rdquo; Ald. Matthew O&rsquo;Shea (19th Ward) said.</p><p>More notable was what did not come up. Aldermen asked no questions about IPRA&rsquo;s performance investigating fatal shootings by Chicago officers or about the number of excessive-force complaints the agency has sustained.</p><p>And they did not ask about Glenn Evans, the embattled commander, who allegedly rammed his service pistol down an arrested man&rsquo;s throat last year. In April, a test showed the arrestee&rsquo;s DNA on the gun. The test led Ando to recommend that police Supt. Garry McCarthy strip Evans of his police powers, pending the investigation&rsquo;s outcome. WBEZ revealed the case in July.</p><p>Despite IPRA&#39;s recomendation, McCarthy, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, continued to publicly support Evans. They left him in command of the Harrison District until the criminal charges August 27.</p><p>Outside the hearing, Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) said the Emanuel administration&rsquo;s handling of Evans &ldquo;sends a signal to the community that things have not changed since the Burge era,&rdquo; referring to former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, implicated in the torture of dozens of African-American men.</p><p>&ldquo;This behavior appears to be a systemic problem in the police department,&rdquo; Brookins said. &ldquo;The superintendent of police and all of the authorities have to show that this conduct will no longer be tolerated. And until there are outward expressions and actions to back that up, it is going to be hard to get away from that impression of the community just by opening a few satellite offices.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/aldermen-skip-chance-ask-about-citys-handling-police-commander-111016 Emanuel budget avoids pension woes http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-budget-avoids-pension-woes-110944 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP580286472422.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-f04d8a28-15c2-c46d-badf-148104888658">Just months before facing voters at the polls, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday unveiled a 2015 budget plan that boosts popular city services and closes an estimated $297 million spending gap with a menu of revenue increases.</p><p>But the $8.9 billion spending blueprint does not address what is arguably the city&rsquo;s most pressing financial challenge: a $550 million balloon payment to the city&rsquo;s drastically underfunded police and fire pension funds, due in 2016.</p><p>Instead, Emanuel spent much of his election season budget address to the City Council highlighting his past accomplishments, rather than getting into the details of his spending proposal.</p><p>&ldquo;We are making real progress, but we still have a long way to go,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;For the fourth year in a row, we will balance our budget and hold the line on property, sales and gas taxes.&rdquo;</p><p>But Emanuel&rsquo;s proposal does close the projected deficit, in part, with $54.4 million from what his administration calls &ldquo;closing tax loopholes and revenue enhancements.&rdquo;</p><p>That includes $10 million in new money from an increase of the tax levied on paid parking garages; $4.4 million by cutting a tax exemption for people who who rent skyboxes at Chicago sports venues; $12 million by eliminating a tax break for cable TV companies, effectively raising their tax burden; $15 million by increasing the lease tax on cars and office equipment; and $17 million by cracking down on companies who rent office space in other towns to avoid paying city sales and use taxes.</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s bean counters are also relying heavily on an improving economy to help balance the books. They&rsquo;re estimating a $75.4 million take from growth in the number of building permits and inspections as the construction industry improves, and from a big boost in revenues tied to consumer behavior, such as the sales tax.</p><p>City Hall is also expecting to find nearly $81 million next year through various cuts and belt-tightening measures, but an Emanuel spokeswoman says there will be no city worker layoffs. Another $60.5 million comes from &ldquo;improved fiscal management,&rdquo; including declaring a surplus in some of the city&rsquo;s tax increment financing districts, and $26.1 million comes from cracking down on people who owe back city fines and fees.</p><p>But ahead of the Feb. 24 city elections, Emanuel&rsquo;s spending proposal does not neglect the city services that have long been the currency of Chicago politics. The mayor wants to double the number of pothole crews that repair pock-marked city streets, and boost spending for graffiti blasting, tree-trimming and rat-baiting. He also wants to increase funding for youth summer jobs, early education and after school programs.</p><p>Emanuel made only passing mention of the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/experts-say-chicago-has-public-pension-system-set-fail-109329" target="_blank">city&rsquo;s $20 billion public worker pension crisis</a>, leaving open the possibility that voters won&rsquo;t know the mayor&rsquo;s plan until after the Feb. 24 city elections.</p><p>After decades of shorting its pensions, City Hall will finally have to bring its pension payments up to speed in 2016 with an estimated $550 million spike in its state-mandated contributions for police and firefighters&rsquo; retirement funds. Emanuel has already <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-signs-chicago-pension-bill-emanuel-backs-property-tax-hike-110306" target="_blank">brokered an overhaul</a> of the pensions for city laborers and municipal workers, but he still hasn&rsquo;t revealed how he plans to deal with the public safety pension problem.</p><p>&ldquo;Unfortunately, due to difficult economic times and decades of deferral, we still have a lot of work to do,&rdquo; Emanuel said Wednesday. &ldquo;But by everyone giving a little, no one has to give everything.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel initially proposed a property tax hike to pay for the higher contributions to the laborers&rsquo; and municipal workers&rsquo; pensions. But facing political pushback, he struck a deal with Gov. Pat Quinn to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/chicagoans-could-help-close-city-pension-deficit-through-increased-phone-tax-110407" target="_blank">raise the city&rsquo;s telephone taxes</a>, buying him a year before he&rsquo;d have to turn to even more unpopular tax hikes.</p><p>City Council budget hearings are set to begin Monday, and aldermen must approve a 2015 budget by the end of the year.</p></p> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-budget-avoids-pension-woes-110944 Commander pleads not guilty to police-brutality charges http://www.wbez.org/news/commander-pleads-not-guilty-police-brutality-charges-110843 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Evans 1tightcrop (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago police commander accused of jamming his gun into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth pleaded not guilty to nine counts of aggravated battery and official misconduct Wednesday.</p><p>After the arraignment,&nbsp;the attorney for Cmdr. Glenn Evans, 52, complained about news-media interest in the case. &ldquo;I worry that Glenn might possibly not be able to get a fair trial,&rdquo; the attorney, Laura J. Morask, said outside the courtroom.</p><p>Morask also accused the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority of &ldquo;leaking&rdquo; an Illinois State Police report about a DNA test in the case.</p><p>&ldquo;It built all of this pre-trial, pre-charging publicity that is outrageous,&rdquo; Morask said, adding that she had no immediate plans to seek a change in venue for the trial.</p><p dir="ltr">The charges stem from a January 2013 incident in Grand Crossing, a South Side police district commanded by Evans at the time. Evans, according to police reports about the incident, saw a 22-year-old man named Rickey J. Williams holding a handgun.</p><p>Evans and other officers chased Williams into an abandoned building. There, according to prosecutors, the commander put the barrel of his service weapon into the man&rsquo;s mouth, pressed a Taser into his groin and threatened to kill him.</p><p dir="ltr">A search of the area by authorities that night did not turn up the gun Williams allegedly possessed.</p><p dir="ltr">In April, more than 14 months after the incident, IPRA received the report about the lab test, which found Williams&rsquo; DNA on Evans&rsquo; pistol.</p><p dir="ltr">Based on the lab result, IPRA that month sent police Supt. Garry McCarthy a recommendation to strip Evans of police powers pending the investigation&rsquo;s outcome. WBEZ revealed the case, including the DNA report and IPRA recommendation, in July.</p><p dir="ltr">But McCarthy, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left Evans in command of the Harrison police district until August 27, when the criminal charges were announced.</p><p>City records obtained by WBEZ through a Freedom of Information Act request show that Evans had been <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810">suspended from duty at least 11 times</a> during his 28 years with the department. The two longest suspensions, both 15 days, resulted from excessive-force accusations.</p><p dir="ltr">Those accusations are among dozens of excessive-force complaints against Evans that city agencies have fielded. At least seven of the complaints have come since 2009, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr">The city, meanwhile, has paid out <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786">five-figure settlements in at least six federal lawsuits</a> accusing Evans of police brutality. Those payments and related expenses total $282,467, according to a WBEZ review of court filings and city records.</p><p dir="ltr">At least three other police-brutality lawsuits naming Evans as a defendant are pending. Those include a case brought this month by Williams, the man whose accusations led to the criminal charges.</p><p dir="ltr">Despite the news of the excessive-force complaints and lawsuits, Evans maintains support among many police officers and some residents of districts where he has worked.</p><p dir="ltr">About two-dozen Grand Crossing residents, mostly retirees, attended the Chicago Police Board&rsquo;s monthly meeting last Thursday. Several took a turn at the microphone, praising Evans&rsquo; work ethic and attentiveness.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-excessive-force-complaints-police-commander-maintains-support-110618">Evans also has some support</a>&nbsp;in Harrison, a district he took over as commander in March.</p><p dir="ltr">At the arraignment, Cook County Assistant State&rsquo;s Attorney Lauren Freeman kicked off the case&rsquo;s discovery phase by providing Morask with an armful of records.</p><p>Circuit Court Associate Judge Rosemary Grant Higgins, assigned to the case this week, set the next hearing for October 23.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/commander-pleads-not-guilty-police-brutality-charges-110843 Indicted police commander suspended from duty 11 times, records show http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Evans 1tightcrop_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated on September 18 at 5:58 p.m.</em></p><p>Cook County prosecutors on Thursday unveiled an indictment of a Chicago police commander who allegedly rammed his pistol into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth. A grand jury has charged Cmdr. Glenn Evans, 52, with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans did not speak during the hearing, which took place at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building and lasted about 10 minutes.</p><p>On the way out of the courthouse, about two dozen supporters tightly surrounded him to shield him from news reporters and cameras. Those supporters, including Chicago police officers, stuck with him all the way to a waiting SUV that carried him away.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans will plead &ldquo;not guilty,&rdquo; according to his attorney, Laura J. Morask. &ldquo;Cmdr. Evans will not only be exonerated but vindicated,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It was a rush to judgment and I think you&rsquo;ll see that.&rdquo;</p><p>City records, meanwhile, show that Evans has been suspended from duty at least 11 times during his 28 years in the police department. Most of the suspensions took place during the first decade of his career, when he worked as a South Side patrol officer, according to the records, obtained by WBEZ through Freedom of Information Act requests.</p><p dir="ltr">The alleged infractions ranged from a missed court appearance to an off-duty &ldquo;domestic altercation.&rdquo; The two longest suspensions, both 15 days, stemmed from excessive-force accusations.</p><p>One of those cases began in 1990, when Evans was assigned to the Gresham police district. A South Side mother allegedly ran afoul of Jackson Park Hospital personnel when she tried to visit her daughter, who was getting treated there after a sexual assault, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans helped remove the mother from the hospital. Outside the facility, he allegedly slammed her against police vehicles and delivered punches that left her with a black eye and other injuries.</p><p>Evans later characterized the mother as intoxicated and uncooperative and denied the allegations, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" style="text-align: center; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13.63636302948px; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;" target="_blank"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Read all our coverage of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p dir="ltr">The other case began in 1994, when Evans suspected a South Side man stole property from the officer&rsquo;s car trunk. Evans, who was off duty, allegedly handcuffed the man, by an ankle and wrist, to a porch rail and beat him with his handgun.</p><p dir="ltr">The encounter left the man with a three-inch head gash and a cerebral concussion, according to the records. Evans denied using excessive force and claimed the man was resisting arrest.</p><p dir="ltr">Those disciplinary actions are among dozens of excessive-force complaints against Evans that city agencies have fielded since he joined the department in 1986. A report by former chief Chicago epidemiologist Dr. Steven Whitman <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605">tallied 45 filed through 2008</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Since 2009, according to the records obtained through the FOIA requests, the city has received at least seven more excessive-force complaints against Evans, lifting the total to at least 52. City investigations have concluded that nearly all were &ldquo;not sustained&rdquo; or &ldquo;unfounded.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But six federal lawsuits alleging Evans brutality have led to five-figure city settlements. Those payments and related expenses total $282,467, according to a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786">WBEZ review of court filings and city records</a>. Each settlement specifies that the defendants deny wrongdoing.</p><p>Morask, Evans&rsquo; attorney, called the complaints and settlements irrelevant to the criminal proceeding. &ldquo;The only thing that&rsquo;s relevant is what&rsquo;s in this indictment,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>&ldquo;Nobody likes to be arrested,&rdquo; Morask said, referring to the people who have accused Evans of using excessive force. &ldquo;Complaints are just that. They are just complaints.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">At least three other police-brutality lawsuits naming Evans as a defendant are pending. In two, the defendants deny the allegations, according to city filings.</p><p dir="ltr">The third pending lawsuit was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776">brought last week by Rickey J. Williams</a>, a South Side man whose allegations led to the criminal charges, both felonies.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans allegedly put the barrel of his service weapon into Williams&rsquo; mouth on January 30, 2013. Evans also allegedly pressed a Taser into his crotch and threatened to kill him.</p><p dir="ltr">DNA evidence prompted the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority to&nbsp;recommend in April that Evans be relieved of his police powers. WBEZ <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">revealed the Williams case in July</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">But police Supt. Garry McCarthy, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left Evans in command of the Harrison police district until August 27, when the criminal charges were announced.</p><p>After Thursday&#39;s hearing, Morask criticized both IPRA and Alvarez&rsquo;s office. She said neither has tried to interview Evans about Williams&rsquo; accusation.</p><p>&ldquo;In my experience,&rdquo; said Morask, who worked for years in the State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office, &ldquo;something you always do before a case is charged is you ask the suspect their side of the story.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The arraignment is scheduled for next Wednesday.&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810 Ousted commander leaves trail of costly lawsuits http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786 <p><p>Police brutality lawsuits against a Chicago district commander who allegedly put his pistol into a suspect&rsquo;s mouth have cost taxpayers more than a quarter million dollars, a WBEZ review of court records and city settlements has found.</p><p>That amount appears certain to increase as the city faces three more lawsuits, including one filed this week, that allege excessive force by the commander, Glenn Evans, 52. The plaintiffs&rsquo; cases could benefit from a criminal prosecution of Evans, who was charged last month with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Evans 1tightcrop_0.jpg" style="float: right; width: 260px; height: 187px;" title="Evans faces felony charges in a criminal case that could benefit plaintiffs in three pending civil lawsuits against him. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></div><p>To date, the city has paid out five-figure settlements in at least six lawsuits claiming Evans brutality, according to the records. The first two, totaling $25,000, came in 2002 and 2004.</p><p>Those settlements did not appear to tarnish Evans&rsquo; reputation among cops. Philip J. Cline, a police superintendent in Mayor Richard M. Daley&rsquo;s administration, promoted Evans to lieutenant in 2006 and assigned him to Gresham, a South Side district.</p><p>Within four years, the city had settled three more excessive-force lawsuits against Evans, lifting the payout total to $153,999.</p><p>In 2012, Supt. Garry McCarthy promoted Evans to be one of the city&rsquo;s 22 district commanders and assigned him to Grand Crossing, another South Side district.</p><p>Shootings dropped in Grand Crossing last year. McCarthy credited Evans. Some residents also praised the commander&rsquo;s work ethic and attentiveness.</p><p>This March, McCarthy transferred Evans to Harrison, the police district with the most homicides.</p><p>&ldquo;I got fires on the West Side,&rdquo; McCarthy said at a Police Board meeting that month, referring to the violence.</p><p>&ldquo;I got to get my best guy,&rdquo; McCarthy said, calling Evans &ldquo;probably the most aggressive district commander in the Chicago Police Department . . . probably my favorite among my favorites.&rdquo;</p><p>McCarthy described the transfer as a career advancement based on Evans&rsquo; &ldquo;wonderful work.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" target="_blank"><strong>Read all our coverage<br />of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p>By this point, the city had settled a sixth suit alleging Evans&#39; brutality, raising the payout total to $224,999.</p><p>In addition to the settlements, the city had incurred other expenses in these cases. Chicago Law Department records show outlays of at least $57,468 for experts, court reporting, medical-record copies and outside counsel.</p><p>Adding in those expenses, the price tag for lawsuits accusing Evans of excessive force is $282,467.</p><p>The settlements, considered individually, do not show culpability. All specify that their aim is to avoid the expense of further litigation. All specify that the defendants deny wrongdoing and liability.</p><p>But some civil-rights attorneys see a pattern and put much of the blame on superintendents who have promoted Evans.</p><p>&ldquo;McCarthy needs to be held accountable for the way he trains and disciplines his officers, particularly people he puts in positions of high authority,&rdquo; said Patrick Morrissey, a lawyer who filed one of the three unresolved brutality suits against Evans.</p><p>Neither McCarthy nor Mayor Rahm Emanuel answered WBEZ questions this week about Evans&rsquo; promotion to commander.</p><p><strong>Pending lawsuits</strong></p><p>Morrissey&rsquo;s client, Rita King, was arrested after a 2011 domestic conflict. Officers brought her to the Gresham station, where Evans was still based. In her first public comments about the incident, King this week told WBEZ she refused to be fingerprinted because officers had not informed her what charges she faced.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rita%20King%20mug%20facing%20camera%20CROP.jpg" style="float: left; width: 230px; height: 189px;" title="Minutes before officers took this booking photo, Rita King says, Evans broke bones in her face and threatened to ‘push my nose through my brain.’ King has filed one of the three unresolved civil lawsuits alleging excessive force by him. (Chicago Police Department)" /></div><p>&ldquo;So the officer got upset with me,&rdquo; King recalled. &ldquo;He said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to go get somebody to get your fingerprints.&rsquo; &rdquo;<br /><br />King said the officer brought in Evans, a lieutenant at the time, who &ldquo;grabbed me by the nose.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He was using force against my face with his hand,&rdquo; King said. &ldquo;He kept saying, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to push your nose through your brain.&rsquo; &rdquo;</p><p>A court filing by the city said Evans used &ldquo;a reasonable degree of force in order to control King.&rdquo;</p><p>Two days after the incident, a physician at Roseland Community Hospital examined King and found multiple facial bone fractures, according to a hospital record.<br /><br />Another pending lawsuit against Evans stems from a 2012 police clash with protesters as Chicago hosted a NATO summit. Photojournalist Joshua Lott, the plaintiff, claims Evans and other officers threw him to the ground, stomped on him, hit him with batons or other instruments, and beat him. The suit says Lott identified himself as a member of the press &ldquo;but the beating continued unabated.&rdquo;</p><p>Evans and the other defendants deny those allegations, according to a court filing by the city.&nbsp;</p><p>The third pending lawsuit against Evans was brought Tuesday by Rickey Williams, a South Side man whose accusations led to the criminal charges against the commander. Evans allegedly put the barrel of his police pistol into Williams&rsquo; mouth last year, pressed a Taser into his crotch and threatened to kill him.</p><p>Williams&rsquo; suit cites a lab test that showed his DNA on Evans&rsquo; gun. WBEZ revealed that test and an April recommendation by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority that the commander be relieved of police powers.</p><p>McCarthy, backed by Mayor Emanuel, did not follow that recommendation. McCarthy and Emanuel lauded Evans&rsquo; efforts against crime. The commander remained in his post until August 27, when Cook County prosecutors filed the charges, both felonies.</p><p>&ldquo;Until Cmdr. Evans was arrested and charged there had been no finding in the investigation,&rdquo; a written statement from McCarthy said this week. &ldquo;As soon as we were made aware of the charges, Cmdr. Evans was relieved of his police powers, pending the outcome of this matter.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The alleged actions, if true, are unacceptable to the residents we serve and to the men and women of this department,&rdquo; McCarthy&rsquo;s statement added.</p><p>Evans&rsquo; attorney, Laura Morask, called the criminal investigation &ldquo;incredibly flawed&rdquo; and called the commander&rsquo;s actions lawful. She has not returned WBEZ messages seeking comment about the pending civil claims against Evans, who could not be reached for comment.</p><p><strong>Other complaints</strong></p><p>Most brutality complaints against Evans have not ended up in court. City agencies have fielded dozens of them since he joined the police department in 1986.</p><p>A report by former chief Chicago epidemiologist Dr. Steven Whitman says 45 brutality complaints were lodged against Evans during January 1988&ndash;May 2000 and May 2002&ndash;December 2008.</p><p>Authorities responsible for investigating those complaints found that two warranted disciplinary action, according to the Whitman report, prepared for a lawsuit against a different officer.</p><p>In requests under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, WBEZ asked for complaint summaries from Evans&rsquo; entire 28 years with the department.</p><p>Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s administration has not provided those records.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/166113811&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>At a news conference last week, WBEZ asked Emanuel how he planned to hold McCarthy accountable for advancing Evans&rsquo; career despite all the excessive-force lawsuits and complaints over the years.</p><p>Emanuel responded that the public should &ldquo;hold all of us accountable.&rdquo; The mayor then changed the subject to the criminal probe of Evans.</p><p>&ldquo;There were questions that had not been investigated,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;Once that conclusion was made and the investigation was concluded, actions were taken.&rdquo;</p><p>Evans, assigned to desk duty since the criminal charges were filed, earns an annual salary of $154,932.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786 Lawsuit: Police commander's alleged battery amounted to 'torture' http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Williams presser 3 colors CROP scaled.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A man whose brutality complaint led to felony charges against a Chicago police commander took his allegations to federal court Tuesday. Rickey J. Williams, 24, filed a lawsuit that accuses Glenn Evans of &ldquo;torture&rdquo; and says Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration condoned it.</p><p>The alleged abuse took place after Evans chased Williams into an abandoned South Side building on January 30, 2013. Evans, according to the suit,&nbsp;put a taser to Williams&rsquo;&nbsp;crotch, threatened his life, and inserted his police pistol where it did not belong.</p><p>&ldquo;They took the gun and put it down my throat,&rdquo; Williams says in a video provided by his legal team. &ldquo;They should get punished.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams attended a Tuesday news conference to announce his suit but did not speak.</p><p>The suit cites a lab test that showed Williams&rsquo; DNA on Evans&rsquo; gun. WBEZ revealed that test and an April recommendation by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority that the commander be relieved of police powers.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" target="_blank"><strong>Read all our coverage of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p>Emanuel, who was briefed on the recommendation, and police Supt. Garry McCarthy&nbsp;lauded Evans&rsquo; efforts against crime and left the commander in his post until the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office charged him on August 27 with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p>Evans&rsquo; attorney, Laura J. Morask, did not respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit. After the charges were filed, she called the criminal investigation &ldquo;incredibly flawed&rdquo; and said Evans&rsquo; actions were just and lawful.</p><p>Williams&rsquo; attorney, Antonio Romanucci, disputed a claim in a police report that the chase began after Evans&rsquo; spotted Williams holding a gun. Williams was simply standing at a bus stop, &ldquo;not doing anything,&rdquo; Romanucci said.</p><p>Inside the building, according to the lawsuit, Williams did not threaten harm to the commander or anyone else.</p><p>Police reports from the incident did not state that Williams resisted arrest, Cook County prosecutors said after charging Evans.</p><p>The commander &ldquo;battered&rdquo; Williams and threw him to the floor, the lawsuit says.</p><p>&ldquo;More than five&rdquo; officers were present during the alleged abuse, Romanucci said. &ldquo;A couple were holding [Williams] down.&rdquo;</p><p>The suit claims that the city has a &ldquo;widespread practice of failing to discipline&rdquo; officers for excessive force. That practice amounts to a &ldquo;de facto policy,&rdquo; according to the&nbsp;suit, and encourages cops to &ldquo;engage in misconduct with impunity and without fear of official consequences.&rdquo; The misconduct includes &ldquo;coercive interrogation techniques and torture on suspects.&rdquo;</p><p>The lawsuit does not specify an amount of monetary damages sought. Romanucci said the suit&rsquo;s&nbsp;aims extend beyond money and include changing city policies.</p><p>&ldquo;When you have a commander setting the example for [the] rank and file &mdash; that it&rsquo;s OK to do this in order to coerce confessions &mdash; and then, when IPRA recommends discipline, and no discipline is taken, it sends the clearest message across the board to the city of Chicago police officers that [brutality] is OK,&rdquo;&nbsp;Romanucci said.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/166113811&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Emanuel, in a written statement about the lawsuit, said Evans&rsquo; alleged actions, if they occurred, are &ldquo;deeply disturbing&rdquo; and &ldquo;have no place in our city and are not reflective of the actions and values of the men and women who serve in the Chicago Police Department.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Our policing philosophy is rooted in community policing and fostering stronger relationships with residents and communities, because we all have a role to play in the safety of our city,&rdquo; Emanuel&rsquo;s statement added.</p><p>Emanuel&rsquo;s role includes hiring, firing and supervising the city&rsquo;s&nbsp;police superintendent.</p><p>A statement from McCarthy about the lawsuit said &ldquo;personnel decisions for exempt-rank officers in the department are mine, and mine alone, whether it&rsquo;s a commander, a deputy chief or a chief.&rdquo;</p><p>At a news conference last week, WBEZ asked Emanuel how he planned to hold McCarthy accountable for promoting Evans to commander and later transferring him to the police district with the city&rsquo;s most homicides&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;despite dozens of excessive-force complaints against him over the years. The mayor responded that the public should &ldquo;hold all of us accountable.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel then changed the subject to this year&rsquo;s criminal probe of Evans. &ldquo;There were questions that had not been investigated,&rdquo; the mayor said. &ldquo;Once that conclusion was made and the investigation was concluded, actions were taken.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 18:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776